Whether American businesses may lawfully discriminate against their gay and lesbian employees is likely to be one of the first major civil rights questions facing President Donald Trump's upcoming nominee to the Supreme Court.

Experts say succeeding Justice Anthony Kennedy—who is considered the court's foremost champion of gay rights—with a conservative picked from a list vetted by the Republican-aligned Federalist Society could favor employers.

"Obviously the opening is going to create a seismic shift in this issue," said Louis L. Chodoff, a Ballard Spahr partner and member of the firm's Labor and Employment Group.

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